#UNIOSUN VC seeks probe of graft in varsity system


Vice Chancellor of the Osun State University (UNIOSUN), Prof. Labode Popoola, has urged stakeholders and anti-graft agencies to investigate how resources are utilised in the nation’s university system.

Popoola, who spoke with The Nation, noted that even with the complaints of insufficient funding, many university managers need to be held accountable for the funds they get and how they spend same.

The vice chancellor said there is a lot of corruption in the system.  He said: “There is corruption in the university system in Nigeria and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or whichever agencies, even the councils, should beam their searchlights on the university system.

“Our unions always complain about poor funding. But the question is: what have we done with the little we have received? Since I got here, at least I have got over N3 billion from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund). Yes, it’s true that the government cannot fund education enough. But there are some universities that got more than that, particularly Federal universities. We should ask, the society should ask: what have we used this money for? I can account for every kobo that came in during this tenure.

“Society should be interested; the security agencies should be interested; our principals should be interested in the way universities are run. We are not saying that they should interfere. But they should be able to look into our books, into our performance, into the way we utilise resources that have been entrusted to us. That is not happening in every university.

“There is collusion. Why should a project that should cost N50 million, why should it cost N250 million? And that is what we have.”

Popoola said corrupt people in the university system pressure the management to do their bidding and fight back if they do not get their way.

The vice chancellor said he resisted some of such people during the first 18 months of his five-year tenure, which ends next month, and was accused of corruption himself, but was vindicated.

“When I first came, a professor came to this office and brought a document for me to sign.  There was some money they called internally generated revenue (IGR) to be shared among some professors. I said why should this happen? They said here we share 25 per cent of the IGR. Don’t you take your salary? I asked. And they said it was IGR they worked for it.

“How did you work for it? We are supposed to work for the university and our compensation is our salary. Of course, I refused to sign it. You should expect what such people would think of me.

“The corruption in the university system in Nigeria is huge and I am saying so boldly. I was a customer at the EFCC. I make bold to say that never in my life have I given or taken a bribe (but) petitions were written against me by people who were doing it and I blocked the leakages.

“They wrote a petition against me: first to the Governing Council, and I was investigated for about three or four months. Then a letter of exoneration was written to me. They founded absolutely nothing.

“Not satisfied, the petitioners even wrote to the House of Assembly. I think I was investigated for about six months. I have the letter from the House of Assembly exonerating me. They went to the EFCC. I was even detained. They investigated me for six months. I was expecting an outcome. Then I was told that once they don’t invite you again, then they did not find anything. And I didn’t bother my head because I knew that there was nothing like that.”

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